Origin: Wuyi Shan, Fujian, China
(pronounced CHEE DAHN)
This tea offers a rich, jammy finish with a big, expressive attack up front. It has great patience for long sessions, brew after brew.
Wuyi Mountain is one of the places of pilgrimage for tea dorks around the world. It's one of the birthplaces of oxidation in tea. They were some of the first people to discover that if they rolled the tea leaves, oils and sugars would bleed into the leaf, and accelerate its oxidation. Later, by roasting the tea, they would caramelize these sugars, arrest oxidation, and dry the tea leaves. They began experiment with oxidizing tea leaves as early as the 14th century.
This discovery changed the tea world in many ways. Before this, there was only green tea. Green tea is not oxidized, or roasted. And tea leaves have lots of bitter molecules called tannins. So, if we hit green tea with water that's too hot, we can over-extract tannins to make a very bitter cup. With the discovery of oxidation and roasting, the tannins were broken down. So, it became much easier to make delicious tea that wasn't too dry or bitter.
Qi Dan is one of the native cultivars of Wuyi Mountain. There are six famous bushes there, known as the "Mother Bushes" that are among the first tea bushes planted in Wuyi. These six bushes are composed of four different cultivars, one of which is Qi Dan.
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